Volume 76     Number 8  *  October 2013

In This Issue
President's Message
Bee Kind to Pollinators
Create Backyard Habitats
Eye on Horticulture
NER Meeting/Symposium
Meet Maria Nahom & Linda Nelson
Environmental Studies School
Presidents' Day
Awards Meeting
Club Yearbook Contest
Share Your Garden
Flower Show 2014
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We're in full gear now, coming off a wonderfully successful Presidents' Day and preparing for the NER Meeting/Symposium this month, with Environmental Studies School and the Awards Meeting around the corner in November. The schedule for the February 2014 Connecticut Flower Show is now available--it is never to early to begin planning your submission.

Continuing our President's theme, we have great information to help you support pollinators, native plants and natural habitats.

Click here for the Club Calendar.


Lynn Hyson, Editor
President's Message

Greetings Fellow Gardeners:
October is a very special month in Connecticut as our Federation hosts the New England Regional Meeting and Symposium,  October 14 -17.  The Regional Director, our own Maria Nahom, and her committee led by Meeting Chair, Margareta Kotch, and Symposium Chair, Trish Manfredi, have planned a spectacular gathering at Water's Edge Resort and Spa.
The stars will be out in Westbrook -- Come and greet the new NGC National President, Linda Nelson, from Oregon. [See profile in this issue.] A welcome cocktail party and dinner will feature floral designers from all New England states. Connecticut will be represented by our design genius, Terry Stoleson. The Business Meeting will celebrate all the varied and inspirational activities of our fellow New Englanders. 
The Symposium will bring us two fantastic educators, former national President, Barbara May, for Design and NGC Flower Show Schools National Chair, Dorthy Yard, for Horticulture.  At the symposium-opening dinner, University of Connecticut's Donna Ellis will present an important program on invasive plants in New England, and Barbara May will elucidate modern world influences on creative American design.  This meeting and symposium offer our CT club members a once-in-6-year opportunity to experience some of NGC's best in a quintessential CT setting. 
Looking Ahead:   Plan to attend The Federation's Annual Awards Meeting at AquaTurf in Plantsville on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.  It promises to be thrilling as four former state presidents vie to win the People's Choice Award in the Battle of the Presidents Flower Arranging Challenge. The Awards meeting is our time to honor our clubs and share in their good works educating and beautifying our lovely state of Connecticut.
The February 2014 State Flower Show, "Backyard Paradise," schedule is on the website.  The schedule is glorious and reflects our state theme of "Bee Kind to Pollinators, Plant Natives, Create Backyard Habitats." Many thanks to the schedule creator, Barbara Bruce, and the Show Chairman, Becky Paul, and their committee for presenting such an inspiring schedule.  Please notice the new Photography section.  Photographers may want to take photos for it this fall.  For this, our trial run, photographers will need to call ahead to register for the classes in the same way participants register for design classes.
Clubs:  For the State's ongoing Native Tree Contest, please keep running tallies of the native trees you plant as a club or as individual club members, especially during the fall planting season. 

And please continue to register your backyards with the National Wildlife Federation. The minimum effort is needed to qualify: You just need shelter (something as simple as an evergreen tree), food (berry bushes), and water (birdbath).  Making your backyard a place of refuge is a small thing to do with a big impact.
Here is a poem in honor of Maria Nahom's New England Regional theme:  "Call of the Wild - Protecting Wildlife, Wildflowers and Open Spaces."

I  Am  Wild

    I am wild.
        Yet so gentle to the eye
    I am colorful
        So pleasing to the butterfly

    My stems can be long
        And sway in the breeze
    My stems, oh so short
        Are protected by my leaves

    I live by streams,
        Rivers, creeks and wetlands
    I live in the valleys,
        Mountains and desert dry lands

    I am a wildflower
        Come often to see
    My brothers and sisters
        And please, preserve me
                                Pamela J. Leyden

Happiest Autumn!

* Jacqueline Connell

If Pollination is the name of an epic novel, bees are the main characters in the novel. Pollinators don't gather pollen with the intent of aiding plant reproduction.  They are looking for food, and the sweet nectar and fatty, protein-rich pollen are excellent food for themselves and their young.  Honey bees come to mind immediately as a main character, as do bumblebees.

I have dealt with honey bees and bumblebees in previous articles.  Let's get in to more detail with respect to bumblebees.

In the Eastern United States, there are 21 species within the genus Bombus. Individuals vary dramatically within a species as far as color pattern is concerned.  Size is dependent upon the amount of food they were fed as larvae. I would be hard put to name the individuals climbing in and around the flowers in my garden, but they sure are fun to watch! 

As pollinators, bees are very important because they deliberately gather pollen to take back to their offspring. Nectar is the name of the game for butterflies, moths, flies, etc., meaning that they are less likely to come in contact with the flower's anthers and move pollen around.  These other pollinators lay their eggs close to the host plant. Bees and wasps lay their eggs in brood cells within a nest and provide food for the larvae that are not mobile. 

Why do we care about all of this?  These insects are key to the pollination of a wide range of crops of considerable economic importance, ranging from alfalfa to apples, stopping at melons and blueberries along the way.  This all adds up to 40 billion dollars worth of product a year - not bad for a bee!
Who are these diligent workers?  Perhaps best known, or most heard of, is the mason bee.  They earned their name by using chewed leaves, sand grains and tiny pebbles to construct walls between brood cells.  Blue Orchard Bees are close relatives of the mason bee.  They are vital to the pollination of apple, cherry and plum trees.
The Alkali Bee is a commercially managed pollinator of alfalfa, a food legume for dairy cattle.  They require bedding areas of optimal salinity and moisture, often provided by alfalfa growers.
Pollination of alfalfa requires fortitude and determination.  The stamens strike the underside of a bee with a small explosion that releases the pollen.  Honeybees avoid this experience by going at the blossoms through the side, taking nectar without providing pollination.
Alkali bee.
We need to help these pollinators. Habitat is lost through suburban development or agricultural monocultures.  We can help by providing a "bee oasis" in our backyards.  Provide a chemical free space with native plants.  Consider growing dogwood, berry bushes, willow, bee balm, goldenrod, butterfly weed and joe-pye weed.  Happy pollinating!

* Lois Nichols
State Projects Chair

Suffield Garden Club presents:
Bring Out the Bling 
A Standard Flower Show

Friday, Oct. 25, 1 - 4 pm
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 am to 3 pm

Phelps-Hatheway House
55 South Main Street, Suffield, CT 
Free Admission



The White Oak: Connecticut's State Tree
The oak tree has been called the purest of the noble trees. Think about the many stories and folk tales throughout history about the oak tree. The Romans considered the oak tree a holy tree and the Druids and the Celts worshipped it.

There are some 500 species of oak trees in the world, each with a different look in size, shape and color. We are going to discuss our native tree and one of the best oak trees: the White Oak (Quercus alba). This tree is prominent in Connecticut history because the Charter Oak, a White Oak in Hartford, was where Connecticut's Royal Charter was hidden from the English. Since then the White Oak has been a symbol of American independence.

White Oaks are popular because they grow straight and their wood is very strong. The grain is not dominant. This has made them very desirable in the building industry. So, many have been harvested, and they are a slow growing tree. This has left New England with a small population of the White Oak.
Back to the White Oak for our gardens and why:  I will caution you that they grow slowly, so you might want to purchase a large tree. They are home to all sorts of insects, bees, and birds. There is always great activity in the oak tree.

The White Oak likes acid soil. It will reach 60 to 100 feet at maturity (50 years or more). It's native to zones 3 to 8, which gives it a great chance to survive.

As the White Oak (had) has a large geographic area, the potential is great.  Unfortunately, it won't appeal to a large section of the gardening population that demands "immediate satisfaction."  Another hindrance to planting  this tree is the small building lots many of us have, which will be overwhelmed by its size.

Keep in mind the vast amount of insects, birds and other small animals that make this tree their home. The White Oak is considered America's most handsome tree.

Plant one.

* Kathrine Neville


Less Muss, Less Fuss, Less Lawn

Our first house had a beautiful lawn.  However, it took every Saturday morning and lots of work to keep it that way.  So, when we moved to our present house, I was happy to see lots of trees, shade, moss, and ajuga, and I was excited that we didn't have to work so hard on the lawn to give our house "curb appeal." 

In subsequent readings I discovered that a house can look appealing without a lawn.  I know, I know, I can hear the gasps now.  However, let's look at a few things we can do and why we should do them.  We can start by reducing the lawn by only 25%.  That means extending the beds by using perennials and ground covers.  I have extended my beds by a foot each year, and I am now able to mow my lawn with an "old-fashioned" push mower, which is good for the environment and good for my waistline.  

Another item to think about to replace some of the lawn is a water garden or pond and/or planting a butterfly or hummingbird garden, if you are lucky to have more sun than I have.  The list is long, and ideas abound for everyone. 

When we reduce the lawn, we save time and money that would normally be spent on mowing and fertilizing--especially if you use a lawn service.  By decreasing the size of your lawn, you can introduce plants that will attract and provide for wildlife visitors.  Maintaining less lawn will conserve water and decrease run-off from fertilizers and pesticides.

I hope you will take the time from now until next spring to think about reducing your lawn.  When you are looking through those catalogs, envision more space for bulbs and less lawn to tend.

I hope you have started the process to certify your backyard as a habitat.  Go to for an application and information.  It's a very easy process.

Here's to more time to relax in your backyard.

* Anne Harrigan



Chemical herbicides
Last month I wrote about applying chemical herbicides. I forgot to say that if you decide to cut down a weed stem and apply the herbicide to the cut stem, the herbicide should be at full strength. Don't dilute it with water if you're going to use it in this way.

If you want to direct the spray onto a specific weed, you can make a cylinder by cutting off the top and bottom of a plastic bottle and containing the spray with the bottle.

Also, know that if your weed is next to a desirable plant, and the roots are intertwined, the herbicide may pass from the roots of the weed into the roots of the desirable plant, killing both plants.

Always read the directions on the label and follow them carefully.

Fertilize your lawn
If you fertilize your lawn, the last application of the year should have been around Labor Day. If you missed Labor Day, go ahead and apply fertilizer now. Don't wait until later in the fall because as the soil cools, the grass roots will stop growing and won't be able to pick up and use the nutrients in the fertilizer.

Use a slow-release, low-nitrogen (nitrogen is the first number in a 5-5-5, for example) fertilizer, organic if possible. If your lawn is primarily Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, apply up to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. If your lawn is primarily fine fescue, apply � pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

You can see from the above numbers that a lawn of fine fescue is more eco-friendly because it requires much less fertilizer than a lawn of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.

Perennial mums
Perennial mums are different from the mums for sale at grocery stores. Perennial mums are rock hardy, bred to withstand Connecticut winters. Grocery store mums are bred to supply a shot of color in the fall. If you plant them, they may or may not survive.

Spring is the best time to plant perennial mums, but you should be able to find them now at larger garden centers. Look for mums with a botanical and cultivar name. I love Dendranthema 'Sheffield Pink' (with a pale salmon flower) and D.  'Clara Curtis' (with a clear pink flower). Both grow very quickly into large clumps. Granted, they do take a bit of real estate in the garden but prove their worth with stunning explosions of fall flowers.

Fall is the time to dig and divide peonies. Take care, as the carrot-like roots are very brittle and easily broken. Because of this, many gardeners prefer to dig up established plants with a fork, instead of a spade.

Peonies are long-lived and demand extra care at planting. Think of old abandoned farmhouses where the peonies are still blooming. The planting hole should be extra large; supplement the soil with a large addition of compost or composted manure. The peony "eye" should be planted two inches below the surface of the soil.

The peony may sulk for a year or two after you move it.

Leaf spot
Many leaf spot diseases on various plants in the garden are not fatal to the plant, but the infected leaves should not be composted. Instead, dispose of them in the trash. Getting rid of infected leaves is key to controlling many plant diseases.

This peony photo was taken in my garden. Dr. Sharon Douglas, a plant pathologist at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, identified the leaf spots as a "very heavy example of the fungal disease called leaf blotch (also called red spot or measles), caused by Cladosporium paeoniae.

This disease is usually apparent in spring, just prior to flowering.  However," she continues, "it can have a late-season phase, which is primarily the source of overwintering inoculum for next year's infections-this phase is more commonly found on older peony varieties."

More information from Dr. Douglas: "This disease, as with most fungal diseases, is heavily dependent on the weather-wet, cool spring weather is optimal for infection, since the fungus infects the newly emerging shoots. This fall or early next spring, you can remove all old top growth to ground level and destroy, bury, or remove it from the planting bed.

"As the new shoots break through the soil surface in the spring, they can be protected with fungicide sprays (including mancozeb, thiophanate-methyl, propiconazole, or copper fungicides). I'm not certain how effective the biological controls (e.g., Serenade) would be, especially during favorable weather.

"If the weather is favorable (cool and wet), additional sprays applied at the shortest intervals on the label may be necessary until the flowers begin to open. It also helps to promote good air circulation by spacing the plants and to avoid wetting the leaves by using drip irrigation rather than overhead watering.

"If this sounds like too much trouble, one can consider replacing the plants with newer, resistant varieties."

For further information, please use the contact information provided.

*Pamela Weil 
Horticulture Chair




 There's still time to register for the NER ANNUAL MEETING on Oct. 14-15 at Waters Edge Inn & Spa in Westbrook, a glorious place to be to enjoy interesting programs,
see fabulous designs and welcome the Autumn Colors!
For registration call Anne Harrigan at: 203-744-2057.

Meet NER Director Maria Nahom

The Federated Garden Clubs of CT, Inc., is proud to have their own Maria Nahom leading the NER Annual Meeting at Water's Edge this month. The New England Region Director began her community service with the Junior Service League and area youth groups. Then, though she is a resident of New Milford, friends invited her to join the Danbury Garden Club. She has been a member there since 1989. She is a board member of FGCCT and the National Garden Clubs as well.

"I do love design!" says Nahom, who credits board member Helen Pritchard as her mentor. "She pushed me along to do things that I never thought I could do. She encouraged me to enroll in Flower Show School. The next thing you know, I'm a judge!"

Nahom has been on the board of the National Garden Clubs for 12 years, through which she has come to know gardeners all over the country. She enjoys seeing the floral designs of all the regions. "Alaskans grow huge vegetables and flowers," she says. Though their growing season is short, their summer days are light so long. But overall, she finds that the similarities outweigh the differences. "No matter where you go, no matter what accent you have, we all feel the same about the environment," she tells us.

Nahom gets passionate when she talks about the Blue Star Marker program, which she currently chairs. The oldest ongoing project of the National Garden Clubs, it originated in 1945 in New Jersey, when NGC members planted dogwoods to welcome the troops home from the war. In 1946 it went national and continues to honor all who have served, are serving or will serve their country in the armed forces with plaques on highways, at rest stops and other public spaces. The program was reinvigorated after 9/11 and is very active, she says.

As NER Director, Nahom sees her role as spreading the word from the national level to the clubs of the New England Region. She attends the NGC Annual Meeting in the fall for updates and awards information, which she will pass on at the NER Annual Meeting, coming up this month. She also communicates by writing for the NER newsletter, Northern Exposure, and the NGC publication, Keeping In Touch. Her position also involves traveling to all six New England states, where she enjoys meeting other garden club members.

The New England Region Annual Meeting and Symposium is open to anyone who is a member of The Federation. Take the opportunity to meet Maria Nahom on October 14-17 when Connecticut hosts garden club members from around the region.

Meet NGC President Linda Nelson

The president of the National Garden Clubs, Linda Nelson, will attend our NER Meeting and Symposium this month.  From Keizer, Oregon, she has been a Federated Garden Club member since 1973, when she and her mother joined to learn the secrets of flower show judges. She is now a Master Judge. Nelson and her mother also ran a floral wedding business for 20 years.

Nelson has served as the Coordinator of the Hall of Flowers at the Oregon State Fair for 10 years and has chaired the national award-winning Standard Flower Show that the Oregon State Federated Clubs presented at the Portland Home & Garden Show for 10 years.

Linda Nelson's theme for the National Garden Clubs, "Making a World of Difference - Choices Matter," reflects her belief in promoting education as "the key in making responsible decisions for today and tomorrow." Her project will offer in-depth and creative learning and educational opportunities centered on the natural resources of planet Earth - our air, water, forest, land and wildlife. Participants from both Clubs and States can earn monetary awards for outstanding achievements in each category. For more information, see

* Lynn Hyson
News Editor

Sign up now!

Work your way toward being an Environmental Consultant.
Environmental Studies School, Course III, Series 2
, will be held from Wednesday,
November 6 through Friday, November 8, 2013, at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, CT. Go to for the complete brochure and form.

Everything you always wanted to know about our website
but were afraid to ask...

We started this series with our August issue in which we guided you through the Awards page on our FGCCT website, highlighting everything you might want to know about the numerous awards we offer and how to apply for them.   This was followed in our September issue by calling attention to our four schools--Environmental Studies School, Flower Show School,  Gardening Study School, and Landscape Design Study School--how to register for them, and other valuable information on our Education Program page.
Today we would like to focus on the "Program Suggestions" page, found by clicking on the link in the left column of our home page.  Many clubs had their president attend our recent Presidents' Day, at which time we handed out the 2013-2015 Program Suggestions booklet.  For those who could not attend, we have posted the updated Speakers' List on our website.  The booklet has two main sections:  The first one contains a list of program speakers; a sample of a speaker's contract; and a breakdown of various program topics to choose from.  The second part provides suggestions for producing a good Yearbook. In addition to presenting a series of interesting programs for your club meetings, a listing of continuing and new projects is required to meet the objectives of National Garden Clubs, Inc. And, finally, you'll find many helpful hints concerning the preparation of a Club Yearbook, if the Yearbook is to be entered in our FGCCT contest. [See article in this issue.]
If you wish to learn a bit more about our National Garden Club, Inc., then go to our home page and click on "Helpful Links" on the left side quite a ways down.  Once the page is open, scroll all the way down until you find National Garden Clubs, Inc.  There is plentiful information to be gleaned from their website.  And while you are at it, open up some of the other websites posted on this page.    Enjoy.
* Inge Venus
Website Chair


FGCCT Scholarship

The FGCCT Scholarship Fund has received $40 from the Naugatuck Garden Club and $100 from the Westport Garden Club. Our thanks go out to both clubs.

Shane Feyers of New Haven is one of the 2013 FGCCT Scholarship Winners.  A New Haven resident, he recently earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Management at the University of Connecticut with a concentration in environmental conservation. Through UConn, he spent a summer in South Africa learning field ecology and a semester in Western Australia focused on sustainability and environmental accounting.  He is also a five-year veteran of the Coast Guard.

The FGCCT scholarship will help Feyers continue his education at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where he will  study species and systems conservation, environmental anthropology, social ecology and sustainability. Following graduate school, Feyers hopes to work in national sustainability policy or conservation modeling, eventually building a career in education and community development.

Next month we will profile another FGCCT scholarship winner.

Club Scholarships

The Milford Garden Club awarded two $500 scholarships for the 2013 year.  The winners are Katherine Alderman of Foran High School and Anne Bonnazio of Jonathan Law High School.   Both are attending college starting this month.

* Judy Joly 
Scholarship Chair


A well attended Presidents' Day, sponsored by our State Federation Board, was held at the beautiful Whitney Center in Hamden on September 18th. More than 60 Club Presidents came to the event.

Led by President Jacqueline Connell, several Board members gave an overview of our organization and its numerous activities. Opportunities for club members to become involved were highlighted.  It was emphasized that the Board is always available to the membership.

Presidents were then able to interact one-on-one with Board members.  The business meeting was followed by a scrumptious luncheon of homemade delicacies prepared by the Board. Click here for more photos from the event, or go directly to our website and click on Special Events on the left side of the home page.
Presidents looking at posters and picking up hand-out material at the Whitney Center on September 18.


FGCCT 2013 Awards Meeting  
November 20, 2013 at AquaTurf

"Battle of the Presidents Design Challenge"

This year's Awards meeting will showcase our four former presidents, Dee Mozzochi, Maria Nahom, Donna Nowak, and Ronnie Schoelzel.  These top designers will create seasonal arrangements from containers and plant material supplied to them.
And you may participate by voting for the
People's Choice Award.
Click here for the Registration form.





The Durham Garden Club celebrated its 80th Anniversary with an elegant Afternoon Tea at the Lyman Homestead in Middlefield in May. Twelve past presidents joined current and past members and community leaders in marking the milestone.



Please submit three copies of your 2013-2014 Club Yearbook to our Yearbook Manager:

 David Pritchard,
16 Ashlar Village,
Wallingford, CT 06492,

as soon as they become available.

Clubs with a 2014 Yearbook may submit three copies at the beginning of the year, but no later than April 1, 2014.

Award winners will be announced next year at the October 29, 2014 Awards Luncheon.

Share Your Garden!

For a new feature of CFNews, we are asking members to submit a favorite photograph of their gardens to share with our readers. A special spot, an unusual design, any image from your garden that you think is distinctive is welcome. We will publish them in the color Constant Contact version of the newsletter as space permits. Simply email a .jpg file to Lynn Hyson by the 10th of the month at [email protected]. Thank you!

Christine Griffin of the Milford Garden Club submitted this view of her garden: Lagerstroemia rises behind Clematis 'Montana' as it winds its way onto a rose arbor, while 'Snow in Summer,' Stella d'oro daylilies and variegated Euonymus welcome the beach-goer home.

Flower Show Schedule for 2014

The CT Flower Show Schedules for 2014 are out and were distributed at Presidents' Day on September 18th. Additional copies may be obtained from our FGCCT Office.   More copies will be available at our Awards Luncheon at Aqua Turf on November 20th.
The Schedule is also posted on our website

  •  Space in the Calendar listings is reserved for FGCCT member clubs and affiliates only.
  • Submit on the 10th of the month before the issue date.
  •  Include in this order: Date of event, club name, presenter's name, title of program, location, guest fee (if any), contact info (if any), and time of event.
  •  Please do not send press releases.
  •  Send to [email protected].



To maintain your garden club's Tax Exemption status, your club MUST file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EVERY YEAR. You must file a form 990, 990-EZ, or 990N
(the e-postcard).

Clubs that fail to file an annual 990-series return or notice, for three consecutive years, will AUTOMATICALLY lose their tax-exempt status.


Deadline for NOVEMBER 2013 ISSUE
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CT Federation NEWS
Published monthly except January/July

Direct Articles/Dates/Events to:   Lynn Hyson, Editor   
49 Seventy Acre Rd., Redding, CT  06896     203-431-0613

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